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Seaports and Airport Growth

Deep-sea terminals in the Burrard Inlet, on the Fraser River and at Roberts Bank, and passenger and cargo terminals at the Vancouver International Airport handle transfers of cargo and passengers to and from ships and airplanes and the Gateway road, rail and transit systems. Massive investments are underway at the terminals to handle expanding trade and travel.


Twenty three bulk and break bulk terminals moved 65 million tonnes of commodities in 2005 and have the capacity to handle 87 million tonnes. By 2030 volumes are expected to grow to between 76 and 84 million tonnes. $430 million to $1 billion of capital improvements are planned to 2020 to enhance competitiveness of the seaport terminals. The vast majority of bulk and break bulk is carried by rail to and from the seaports.


Four major container terminals handled 2.1 million TEU’s of containers in 2005 (17 million tonnes). $1.3 to $2.2 billion of capital investment is expected to increase capacity sufficient to handle 7 to 10 million TEU’s by 2030. Some 65% of containers move by rail. 35% moves by truck, mostly to destinations within the Gateway region where they are re-distributed by road or rail to other destinations.

Air Passengers

Vancouver International Airport terminals moved 16.9 million travelers to their destinations in 2006. By 2030 that figure is expected to increase to 36 million. A five year, $1.4 billion capital program is underway to build the necessary capacity. This includes the Airport’s portion of the Canada Line rapid transit project connecting the Airport to downtown Vancouver and to the cruise ship terminals.

Cruise Passengers

Nearly one million cruise passengers transited the Gateway in 2005. Vancouver’s advantages as a cruise ship terminus are projected to expand business to 1.6 million passengers over the next twenty years.

Air Cargo

High value, time sensitive cargo volumes at the Airport may grow from 223 thousand tonnes in 2006 to 600 thousand or more tonnes by 2030, requiring significant new investments in cargo handling facilities.

Domestic Bulk Cargo

As the Greater Vancouver Region grows, demand for construction materials will expand. In 2005 over 33 million tonnes of aggregate, cement, limestone and steel and forest products from the Region’s heavy industries moved by tug and barge to rail and road connections. Short sea shipping of heavy goods reduces road congestion and road maintenance costs.